March is National Nutrition Month!

family cooking at PS 218

Spotlight on WHEDco’s Early Education and Afterschool Healthy Eating Initiatives

Healthy eating habits instilled at an early age encourage both parents and children to make sound eating choices.

WHEDco’s early childhood education and afterschool programs ensure that students are not only eating nutritious meals during the school day, but that our families are also gaining critical skills and knowledge around health and wellness.

At PS / MS 218, WHEDco’s Afterschool Enrichment Program has teamed up with Common Threads, a nonprofit organization addressing childhood obesity and food insecurity in NYC, to teach children how to prepare their own healthy meals:

  • The Small Bites class for students in 3rd to 8th grade provides interactive, hands-on cooking lessons integrated with math, language arts, and science concepts.
  • In Cooking Skills and World Cuisine, 5th graders are engaged in a global exploration of healthy foods, learning how to follow recipes and read nutrition and food labels along the way.
  • Finally, the Family Cooking program invites parents and caregivers to learn along with our students, preparing nutritious, low-cost meals together.

Health and nutrition education is also a key component of WHEDco’s early childhood development initiatives. Our Home-based Childcare Program connects childcare providers to the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a federal food program that reimburses providers for the healthy meals and snacks they serve to children in their care, with the purpose of ensuring that children are eating healthy meals and snacks on a daily basis. In addition, the 111 families served by our Early Childhood Discovery Center have access to our on-site Registered Dietitian, who helps plan the Center’s daily meals and snacks, provides healthy eating workshops, and periodically meets one-on-one with parents and caregivers looking to make healthier choices for themselves and their children.

March may be National Nutrition Month, but through the programs highlighted above and many others, WHEDco ensures that nutrition and health are priorities all year long.